The Future of Silicon Valley and Beloved Cali
(Photo from: Nagios.com)
The election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States has been a great shock and has caused major turmoil in different sectors throughout the US. Of course the USAs high-tech industry and specifically Silicon Valley has reacted to the unforeseen situation. In the Annual Web Summit at the beginning of November, Dave McClure (the 500 Start-ups founder) overtly expressed his disappointment “If you’re not fucking pissed right now, what is wrong with you?”
Firstly, during the campaign, many entrepreneurs supported Hillary Clinton who disclosed a detailed and favourable proposal towards Innovation, Research & Development. Secondly, there were many promoters wanting to make California an independent state! For example, the co-founder of Weblogs Inc, Jason Calcanis called California, “increasingly more distinct from America” and, indeed, California led the way in Google Trends search interest a day after the election for the term “secession”.
However, becoming independent is not that easy. The California Constitution reads “The State of California is an inseparable part of the United States of America, and the United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land.” Therefore, an amendment to the US Constitution would need to be passed, with the approval of the other 49 states in a special election in 2019. Nevertheless there are political groups with great political influence such as ‘Yes California’, and influential entrepreneurs such as Shervin Pisheva and and Dave Morin, who could pave the way for this secession.
Nevertheless, there are other strategies to be considered that will have an impact on the global economy. The uncertainty caused by the ambiguous policies of Trump has led to many within Silicon Valley ponder the idea of relocating to other countries. But, which countries are suitable to receive this massive investment of high technology, innovation and positive competence?
Unquestionably London is a viable choice. According to the co-founder of the social-network Path, “the attractiveness of the UK scene is now stronger”. The United Kingdom has put a big emphasis on developing its high tech sector, and not only is London is able to host the companies from the Valley: other areas are able to support those within this sector evidenced by the fact that high-tech businesses in Reading and Bracknell turn over £10 billion a year – second only to London. For instance, Huawei, moved Reading in 2013 and employs 600 people at Green Park. While there is a concern on the new position of UK regarding Brexit, “the scene itself is incredibly welcoming”.
On the other hand, according to Janet Bannister, a former eBay executive working in Toronto, more talent is expected to go back to Canada. There has been a number of CEOs asking about moving to Canada. With the country promising facilities for skilled foreigners, this is another option for the future of Silicon Valley. However, others argue that the opportunities available within the Valley are not available within Canada or any other nation , and they never will be!
All these speculations only show how unsure the fate of Silicon Valley is and the hard road ahead.
By Gema Sancho-miñana